The Grass is Blue: The Interview, Part II

For Part III of the interview click here.

Q. You used to play banjo in your live concerts. Can you talk about your experience with that instrument?

A. Well, uh, as I had mentioned in several interviews and, uh, my people always played every kind of instrument, and every kid in every family was used to somebody's banjo laying around, somebody's fiddle laying around, somebody's mandolin. So you, I was always, I just loved the sound of every, every instrument. And I especially loved the banjo because, uh, I had a, an uncle that played the banjo and then an old man that used to live up the road from us that I wrote my song "Applejack" off of and, and, about him. He taught, he gave, showed me how to play. So and I actually, if I don't have these long artificial acrylic fingernails on I can, I can play the banjo, that old clawhammer style. 'Cause that when I was little when my fingers were just short and stubby and no big fingernails, I could really get a move on that. 'Cause I, I really, it was a big thing for me to learn how to do the clawhammer banjo. So when I was young I could really play it good. And then I got all sissy. And, but I can still play it but I have to figure out how to, a way around it. But I used to play a lot on stage when "Applejack," when my song "Applejack" was out on an album. It was, "Applejack' was a great performance tune. I even did it once on the CMA Awards.

Q. How did you meet Alison Krauss? Wasn't it your husband who introduced you to her?

A. Carl saw Alison Krauss on, uh, one of the country shows. I don't know if it was, it might have been the "Grand Old Opry." He said, "You know, there's this little girl that she sounds a lot like you and she's got a voice like a dove." And he said, "It's just the sweetest little voice, and she's just got the sweetest little face. You ought to, uh, you know, you ought to try to find her. I think her name is Alison Krauss or something." Anyway, so, he had mentioned her name, and then different people got to saying that she was a big fan of mine, I should meet her 'cause she had been wanting to meet me. And it was the sweetest meeting 'cause when we met she started cryin'! It was so sweet! And then, I just, I just claimed her. It was like she was like my little soul mate somehow. Like if I had had a child, it would have been Alison probably. Because you know we had, our little voices just blended so well. It just seemed like what came out of us, our emotions seemed to come out in song the same way. It's like, we, and and, it was just a magical little thing. And so Alison sang on several of the songs on this album, as she has on the last several of my albums, and I, I sang on her last record. I would do anything Alison asked me to do. And she's always been nice to do this. So, she's just mine. I just love her. She's definitely got to be part of my family. If there's such a thing as living in other lives, knowing people from other times, we definitely had to have been together in another life 'cause we're just too close in this one not to had some sort of a history somewhere else!

Q.How was your experience recording this album?

A. This was really, sincerely, almost, it was a charmed and blessed project first of all. It was almost like a spiritual experience to me. The way that it all happened, like from the time Steve and I said, "Well, why don't we just do a bluegrass album." And then the musicians that he put together, as you well know, are the very best of the best. And the nicest people. And they loved each other. They had a great respect for each other. It was such a thrill to hear them all playing together. It was such a thrill for them, to be able to have this, this particular group of people. I'm sure they've all played with different ones at different times. But this particular group doin' an album which, uh, which they seemed to've cared about me and respect what I do 'cause a lot of them go back in my career, and a lot of them remembered a lot of stuff. So, they seemed to be very honored, or they seemed to be and said they were honored to work with me. And I was so honored that I couldn't; it was like I, when I would go to the studio in the day and just hearing them play, it was like I was going to the world's greatest concert. And I got to be the girl singer! It's like, and seriously, it would move me so much that I would just be in, in, I would be emotional just from hearing them in my headphones. Like when Jerry Douglass would like take a turn or Sam Bush or, you know, or Stuart, you know, on the fiddle. It's like, "God!" It, it's like, it was just, it moved my soul. And everybody got along so great. They love Steve. He's such a wonderful person to communicate. And course Gary Pichosa who engineered. We were just all overwhelmed with one another. We were just all gettin' off on this thing, that. It was really just a magical thing. It was really like goin' on some sort of a spiritual journey with great music. It was like God's bluegrass band is what it, it was.

For Part III of the interview click here.